Saisons on a Sunday Afternoon

Mr. JK emailed me on Saturday night with some interesting news.  His son had become buddies with an exchange student from France, and the French student had smuggled in some unique cheeses (a raw milk cheese for starters) when he came to study in Bernardsville.  As Mr. JK had been given a selection of these cheeses, why didn’t I come in to NYC on Sunday and try some?  Sure thing, I said, as long as it was copasetic with Mrs. JK.  Late Sunday morning I got the green light, all systems were go, so I hopped on the PATH, grabbed a few beers when I got to NYC, and headed to their apartment.

mmmmmm, cheese...

Mr. JK set out the raw milk brie type cheese (which felt like velvet on my tongue), a goat cheese rolled in ash (which was brilliant), and an interesting roquefort, among some others.  He also made some salsa and hummus.  Mr. JK is a gourmand, like me, and an excellent cook.  I have never had a bad meal made by Mr. JK, although whatever he can make, I can make better, and he knows it.  Enough about him, let’s get to the beer.

Although we had not coordinated beforehand, Mr. JK and I both picked up a couple of saisons for our afternoon of beer and cheese.  The first one that we cracked open was the Weyerbacher Muse Farmhouse Ale. Mr. JK took one sip and said that he hoped I was going to pan it.  I didn’t think it was that bad, but of the three saisons we sampled, it was the lesser of the group.  The Muse poured a cloudy orange, with some herbs and orange zest on the tongue.  Not awful at all, in fact it was quite drinkable, but it lacked the complexity I associate with saisons, and Belgian style beers in general, and it fell well short of the next two beers we tried.  5.5/10.

Jolly Pumpkin has an excellent reputation, and I was looking forward to cracking open this bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere Farmhouse Ale. I was not disappointed. It poured cloudy and orange, with that funky yeast aroma that I love, along with some coriander and lemongrass on the nose.  I noticed some fruity flavors, apple and pear, and a very subtle hops bitterness.   Mr. JK was less impressed with the Jolly Pumpkin than he was with the Weyerbacher, giving it a “three at best.”  I disagree with him, giving it a 7.5/10.

We finally agreed on the Bruery Saison de Lente.  This is the Bruery’s spring seasonal, and it is light and refreshing and perfect for a warm spring afternoon.  It has a pillowy head that lasts to the bottom of the glass.  I picked up some lemony notes in the aroma and the taste, with the subtle funkiness from the yeast adding some fennel seed flavors, all tied together by the flowery hops.  I am not sure what Mr. JK gave it, but I am giving it a 8.5/10After we kicked the saisons and the cheese, I accompanied Mrs. JK to the Post Office across from the Garden to help her mail some packages.  We replenished our beer supply (reviews to come later) and got Mrs. JK some wine, and retired to the roof deck for drinks and laughs.  I have been advised that any photos taken that evening of the participants are not to be published.

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